Heartbeat | Elizabeth Scott | Book Review

For awhile, I was doing this thing where I was reading the books on my TBR in order of shortest to longest, which is basically how I got started with reading Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott. It was the shortest book on my TBR and I wanted to finish it quickly. I’ve had a hit or miss experience with most of Scott’s books that I’ve already read. I either love them or I vehemently dislike them. It’s like there is no middle ground when it comes to my experience. I am quite happy to report to you, dear reader friend, that Heartbeat falls on the side of really liked.

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott | Good Books And Good Wine

Emma’s mother dies rather suddenly of a brain anneurysm. Her stepdad is keeping Emma’s mother alive and hooked up to machines because she’s pregnant. Emma resents this and would rather her mom be allowed to be dead rather than kept alive by machines. Like, she’s all but dead but because of the baby they can’t shut the machines off. Anyways, things are difficult for Emma, but luckily she has a best friend named Oliva who is totally the deal, if you know what I mean. ALSO. ALSO. Emma is reacting really negatively to everything that is going on and has basically lost her straight A valedictorian student status. Which okay, the whole time this was happening my currently employed in human services self was all WHERE IS HER SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER? WHAT ABOUT A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR? Because if that’s not a cry for help I don’t know what is. Along the way, Emma meets a guy named Caleb who has a total reputation for trouble. Friends, we are just getting started with Heartbeat.

Maybe part of my issues with some of Scott’s other books are that I don’t like the main character, or that I read the book at the wrong point in my life. Like, in Between Here And Forever, I thought the main character was a total whackadoo. In Heartbeat, initially I thought Emma was being a total brat and should have calmed the fuck down. Like, she’s so mean to her stepdad who basically adopted her because her biological father died when she was really young. Oh yeah you guys, Emma is an orphan now. But, I could understand her resentment. However, as an adult who sees all these babies, I side with her stepfather, let’s see what happens with the baby before turning the machines off. Don’t let the teenager pick. But then, hmmm, I also understand Emma because being a teenager makes you feel so powerless, especially in matters like this where she really does not have a choice. Anyways, Elizabeth Scott does a superb job with Emma and her voice in Heartbeat.

I wasn’t entirely sure how I would feel about the romance in Heartbeat. Y’all, it’s sweet and quiet and a budding sort of romance. It’s about two teens who are deeply damaged by their pasts and by their grief and who find shared, hm, sensibilities maybe is the term. Either way, neither Caleb nor Emma handles their traumas well, but they are kids so to me they get a free pass. Anyways. Caleb genuinely cares about Emma and gives her all these feelings. While I did not personally swoon myself, I liked them together.

I was really, really unsure about this book going in. Like, I was glad it was short because if I didn’t like it, it’s not like I had to spend all that much time with it. But you guys? I am glad I read Heartbeat. It is kind of like a Lifetime movie or a Jodi Picoult book minus my being frustrated and pissed off at the ending. In fact, I never once felt the need to throw this book across the room. So, there is that. I actually am going to really recommend you check out Heartbeat for a wholy absorbing read about some pretty damn big issues and a fabulously voiced main character.

Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher At BEA

Other reviews of Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott:

The Cozy Reader – “It is my hope that many young girls read this book
Harley Bear Book Blog – “Emma was just so selfish it disgusted me
The Reading Obsession – “I’d recommend this for fans of Jodi Picoult

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. First of all: That book cover? Absolutely stunning. I know my fascination with beautiful books has gotten me into trouble in the past, but I want to read this novel based on the cover alone.

    That said, I must admit I’m still a little wary of this story. There’s nothing I love more than a moving, heartfelt contemporary novel, but I’m a little intimidated by the concept itself. It sounds unbelievably sad and I’ve had this confirmed by a number of bloggers who have already read it. The idea also sickens me. Using a human being as little more than an incubator? While rationally I understand the desire to save the child as a means of remembering its mother, I can’t even begin to imagine being forced to make such a decision (Or read about it, for that matter).

    Given that I’m not a fan of either Jodi Picoult or Nicholas Sparks, both of whose work I’ve seen referenced as comparisons in reviews for this novel, I’m still not sure whether or not this is the right book for me. It sounds a little too saccharine and sentimental for me, although my curiosity still might get the better of me. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it, though, despite your rather tepid feelings about Emma’s love interest Caleb! 🙂

  2. I definitely plan to read this book sometime. I have enjoyed some of Elizabeth Scott’s books while others have ended up in my DNF pile. This sounds really good and kind of reminds me of The Promise of Stardust (which I will be reading this week) because of the whole pregnant woman on life support story line.

    This is the second positive review I’ve read of Heartbeat and I’m glad to hear that you liked it.

  3. I totally agree with what you said about maybe reading these books at the wrong times in your life–I think a younger, less experienced me would enjoy Scott’s books immensely, but now that I’ve gone through some of those things first hand, it’s just not as appealing anymore.

  4. Hmm, I’m always unsure what to think with Scott’s books. I’ve liked her creepier stuff, like Living Dead Girl and Love You Hate You Miss You, but some of the lighter books have left me frustrated. I’m glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed this one, though!

  5. Glad to see a review of this one — I read it ages ago, then the publish date moved back and I’ve almost forgotten it. But I totally enjoyed it too — dark & twisty but also readable & often sweet!

  6. OMG April stop. You had me at “Lifetime Movie”.

  7. I just read this one and loved it! It was really dark and depressing, but life isn’t always perfect. I actually wasn’t a fan of the whole Emma/Caleb thing. For me, it distracted from the story, but I will admit they were good together.

  8. I’m really looking forward to reading Heartbeat! It seems like the kind of book that will have me thinking about certain “what if” situations, and I almost always enjoy that. Plus, it’s a storyline that I’ve not read before, which is pretty cool too.

  9. I’m a total Scott fangirl so no surprise that this one worked for me-glad it did for you too!

  10. Thanks for linking to my review!


  1. […] April at Good Books Good Wine: “Elizabeth Scott does a superb job with Emma and her voice in Heartbeat.” […]